Colorism Part 3: One for the Guys–More Misconceptions on Colorism

Posted: May 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Editor’s Note: Bill Duke commented in The Root DC that he created the film, Dark Girls “to create a discussion, because in discussion there’s healing, and in silence there is suffering.” To help facilitate discussion on the topic, Critical Issues Blog is running a series on colorism. This is part three. To contribute to the discussion, please email your article, bio and photo to


By  Mecca Baker, Contributor

Many people may not know that colorism affects guys just as bad as it affects the girls. I did some more research, and found that light-skinned guys and dark-skinned guys tend to hash it out when it comes to misconceptions about each other such as being ‘black enough,’ or ‘man enough.’

Out of Style

There is a saying in the black community that light- and dark-skinned guys go ‘in and out of style.’ What this means is there are periods when women and the mass media find lighter-skinned guys more attractive than darker-skinned guys, or vice versa.

One can compare these so-called color-complex eras to a fashion trend. One day, certain clothing may not be as acceptable as they are the next day, but they eventually come back in style. This is the kind of mindset some people have when it comes down to deciding which men are attractive, at the time, based on skin color. As with other misconceptions, this ideal is based on stereotypes.


You’re Not Black Enough!

Being light-skinned creates a stigma that a person is not in touch with his black culture because he may not be, or look, fully black. This creates the misconception that light-skinned men are not black enough.  In some people’s eyes, fair-skinned men with wavy hair and light eyes may be considered feminine, “too white,” nerdy or out of touch with the “black cause.”

This misconception may be related to the age-old fact that some very light-skinned people are mixed. In this case, the phrase ‘not black enough’ comes from the idea that a light-skinned person is not being black. However, being light-skinned does not necessarily mean a person is mixed. In the eyes of the law, we are all considered black. Right?

You’re Too Soft!

Another misconception about light-skinned guys is that they are weak or too soft. Meaning, that they are very sensitive and open with their emotions. In today’s world, when you are in touch with your feelings, you are unfortunately considered weak, and are therefore targeted because you are so vulnerable at times.

Conversely, darker skinned guys are said to be tough, strong, and more manly. This misconception bothers me the most because who are we to determine whether a guy is weak or strong based on his skin color, and when did being in touch with your feelings become a bad thing?

You’re Dirty!

Possibly the most common misconception about dark-skinned guys is that they are dirty, or they don’t take care of themselves. This goes hand in hand with the fact that people associate light, with good, and dark, with bad. Society believes the darker you are, the more evil and dirty you look.

This misconception is so sad to me, because the fact that society degrades people, and tells them they are dirty because of how dark their skin is, sickens me.

Mecca Baker is the creator and editor of a blog on Colorism, dedicated to bringing awareness and healing from this epidemic. For more information, please visit:

Kevin Cole (left) is a character of mixed heri...

Kevin Cole (left) is a character of mixed heritage, African and Jewish. His appearance is light-skinned (especially in contrast to his father) and therefore he is nicknamed “Kasper”. Panel from The Crew #2, art by Joe Bennett. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The dark-skinned black residents of Lazy Town ...

The dark-skinned black residents of Lazy Town are excited upon the arrival of the unnamed light-skinned girl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. […] One for the Guys: More Misconceptions on Colorism ( […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s